06:23 GMT +314 December 2019
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    Mark Zuckerberg

    Zuckerberg Defends Policy to Allow False Political Ads, Refuses to Discuss White House Meeting

    © CC BY 2.0 / Anthony Quintano / Mark Zuckerberg
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    The social media monopoly’s chief remained intransigent even when presented with a joint letter signed by 200 Facebook employees, which asked him to reconsider his position as “free speech and paid speech are not the same”.

    Mark Zuckerberg has defended Facebook’s decision to not vet or remove political advertising containing false information, claiming to do so would amount to censorship.

    During a lengthy CBS interview, Zuckerberg dismissed the idea of changing the controversial policy, claiming in a democracy “it’s really important people can see for themselves what politicians are saying, so they can make their own judgments”.

    “This is clearly a very complex issue, and a lot of people have a lot of different opinions. At the end of the day, I just think that in a democracy, people should be able to judge for themselves the character of politicians,” he said.

    ​Several US politicians, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have warned the 2020 presidential election will be heavily influenced by false claims posted on the social media platform for a fee – some have suggested Zuckerberg’s recent White House meeting with Donald Trump may have unduly influenced his thinking on the subject. When asked by CBS whether he’d been lobbied, Zuckerberg equivocated.

    “We talked about a number of things on his mind. And some of the topics you’d read about in the news around our work. I think some of the stuff that people talk about or think gets discussed [in] these discussions are not really how that works. I also want to respect that it was a private dinner and…private discussion,” he said.

    ​The dinner, convened at a time the President was openly discouraging Facebook from banning political ads, wasn’t disclosed by the White House and only became public after the fact via news reports.


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